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The China Navigation Company – more familiarly “CNCo”, the deep-sea shipping arm of the Swire group – is celebrating its 140th anniversary this year. CNCo was founded in 1872 to operate Mississippi-style paddle steamers on China’s Yangtze River and has enjoyed a long history in New Zealand with the first call dating back to 1883.    
In more recent times CNCo, operating under the Swire Shipping and Tasman Orient Line flags, has provided regular liner services to New Zealand since the early 1950’s and currently offers direct calls at seven ports across the country with a commitment to perform over 300 scheduled ports calls per annum.   
It is fitting that six of the eight “S Class” new buildings (31,000dwt multi-purpose vessels) have already been earmarked for deployment in the New Zealand trade next year, representing a total investment of approximately USD240m.  These vessels are equipped with four 60mt cranes (with a combinable heavy lift capacity of 120mt), specially designed lengthened hatch sizes of up to 24 metres and strengthened tank-tops making them very suitable for carriage of a wide range of break-bulk and general cargoes including project parcels and containers. The vessels also offer ground-breaking fuel efficiency and have been designed to offer the best possible performance for successful operation in scheduled liner trades.
“We are very excited that so many of CNCo’s new ships will be deployed in our New Zealand services. The configurations are ideal for the trade and will allow us to improve our customer proposition by enhancing our port coverage, capacity and cargo handling capability,” added Brodie Stevens, recently appointed as Country Manager for Swire Shipping in New Zealand.  “This planned deployment reinforces our commitment to expanding our multi-purpose network in New Zealand and strengthens our position as the leading multipurpose operator in the region”. The vessels will be progressively introduced into the market from early 2013 and deployment will be focused on key Asia – Pacific trades where Swire Shipping currently operate five multi-purpose sailings per month from New Zealand to Asia.
The new ships are expected to enhance opportunities for exporters of bulk commodities – primarily the forestry and project sectors.
Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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